Mariano Rivera to open Caribbean Series 2019

Panamanian baseball legend Mariano Rivera will attend the inaugural ceremony of the Caribbean Series of 2019, Monday at the Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City.

The organizing committee of the Caribbean classic reported Sunday that Mariano Rivera will launch throw the first ball during the ceremony that will take place before the night match between Mexico and Venezuela. 

The 2019 edition of the regional tournament will begin with the duel between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico on February 4. Cuba and Panama will debut on Tuesday.

The first series was organized by Cuba in 1949. For the first time in history, the competition will have six participants: Leñadores de Las Tunas (Cuba), Estrellas Orientales (Dominican Republic), Cangrejeros de Santurce (Puerto Rico), Cardinals of Lara (Venezuela), Charros de Jalisco (Mexico) and Bulls of Herrera (Panama).

Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela will be in group A, while Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Panama will be in group B. Each team will face their group rivals twice in the regular round, between Monday 4 and Saturday 9 , and the winners of each zone will advance to the grand finale on Sunday.

Panama City agreed to mount the 61st edition of the Caribbean Series with just a week of notice, after it was taken away from Barquisimeto, Venezuela, due to the political crisis affecting the country. The event has not been played here since 1960.

Rivera’s debut in the games come just two weeks after he became the first baseball player of all time to be unanimously elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). The reliever was scored on the 425 writers’ ballots.

The lifeline leader (652) of all time in MLB, has also been one of the most dominant pitchers in history in the regular season and playoffs, where he was 8-1, 0.70 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 141.2 IL, including 11 rescues and 0.99 ERA in 24 World Series appearances.

Rivera has won five World Series rings with the Yankees, the only team he played for over 19 seasons and in one of them (1999) he won MVP. Welcome home Rivera!